Summer Games is the highlight of the sporting year for our general program athletes. They train all year, do their best at regional competitions in hopes of getting selection and then enjoy three days of fun in the sun with their fellow athletes. Some of our talented Schools Partnership Program participants in Fresno get to make the trip north to Davis this weekend for Summer Games!
In addition to competing in track and field and aquatics, the Fresno schoolers will get to walk in the Parade of Athletes at Opening Ceremonies, which is held Friday at UC Davis’ Aggie Stadium. Imagine their excitement as they get to walk on the Division I football field with hundreds of other athletes by their sides and hundreds of fans cheering them on in the stands.
I should point out at this isn’t the norm. While our Schools Partnership Program athletes compete during the school year, very few of them also participate in our general sports program – which takes place all year long. While five percent of the SPP athletes in the Bay Area participate in the general program, 65 percent of all Fresno athletes come from its school program.
Long before the Special Olympics Northern California office existed, Special Olympics existed in Fresno in the form of grass-roots general sports and school programs. Since the Fresno community – along with the Central, Clovis and Fresno School Districts along with the Fresno County Office of Education – has such strong and committed ties to Special Olympics, the athletes get to compete in the schools and at Summer Games.
To earn the ticket to Summer Games, all the Fresno athletes competed at the regional qualifier track meet. With over 1200 athletes competing, every high school in Fresno and Clovis Unified attended along with about 30 middle schools and 50 elementary schools. The sheer logistics of busing that many athletes to Fresno City College (which was a fantastic host, yet again) and getting everyone through the heats in fewer than four hours is nothing short of wonderful. A lot of hard work from the school personnel and community volunteers went into making the track meet a success.
To learn more about Summer Games, check out SummerGamesSO.com. If you’re in the Davis/Sacramento area this weekend, please feel free to come out to UC Davis and watch our athletes compete! All events are open at no cost to the public.